In this Arcadian portrait, Anthony van Dyck pictures Philip, 4th Baron Wharton, standing before a shimmering green drapery against a rocky backdrop, while holding a shepherd's houlette in the crook of his arm. His regal pose and his sumptuous attire with its rich golden-yellow, purple, and emerald tones convey both grace and elegance, while his gaze exudes self-confidence.
Eldest son of a staunch Puritan, Wharton succeeded his grandfather, also named Philip, to become the fourth Baron Wharton. After attending Oxford University and traveling abroad with his siblings, Lord Wharton spent part of the summer of 1631 in The Hague at the court of the Prince of Orange, Frederik Hendrik, presumably becoming involved with the Dutch cause, due to his strong Protestant background. In The Hague, Lord Wharton would have met the exiled King and Queen of Bohemia, Frederick V of the Palatinate and Elizabeth Stuart, sister of King Charles I, thereby fostering his relationship with the English king. Thanks to this relationship, Wharton became the first Englishman other than the king to commission a portrait from Anthony van Dyck after the Flemish master moved to London in 1632.
lower left: P.Sr Ant: vandike; lower right: Philip Lord Wharton / 1632 about ye age / of 19.
Philip Wharton, 4th baron Wharton, [1613-1696], Wharton Hall, near Kirkby Stephen, Westmorland, or Healaugh, West Riding, Yorkshire, until 1637; after 1637 in Wooburn, near High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire; by inheritance to his son, Thomas Wharton, 5th baron and 1st marquess of Wharton [1648-1716], Winchendon, near Aylesbury; by inheritance to his son, Philip Wharton, 1st and last duke of Wharton [1699-1731], Winchendon, near Aylesbury; purchased 1725 by Sir Robert Walpole, 1st earl of Orford and Prime Minister under George I and George II [1676-1745], Houghton Hall, Norfolk; by inheritance to his son, Robert Walpole, 2nd earl of Orford [1700-1751], Houghton Hall; by inheritance to his son, George Walpole, 3rd earl of Orford [1730-1791], Houghton Hall; acquired with the Walpole collection in 1779, through Count Aleksei Semonovich Musin-Pushkin, Russian ambassador to England, by Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], for the Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg; purchased March 1930 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.
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